It was neither by design nor by accident that, Napoleon Bonaparte, onetime French statesman and military leader of Italian descent who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars, said in one of his thought-provoking speeches that, he would rather prefer facing one thousand soldiers than one newspaper. Fondly referred to as the fourth power even by those who have the tendency to downplay their importance, the media have fortunately withstood the test of socio-political and economic jigsaws although with varying consequences. The ability to sail through the sharp teeth of these jigsaws is what makes for any success in the media adventure. And so, as time which is one of the most powerful resources changes a country’s life-living map, so does the media landscape readjusts to suit the prevailing situation.
A lot of water has flown underneath the bridge since Cameroon Tribune (CT), the country’s lone State-run daily saw the light of day. That historic date was July 01, 1974. Needless to revisit the various stages of history the paper has gone through but its however important to say all has not been rosy which of course is normal for such a structure everyone looks up to and claims to have control power over it; the government and the public alike. The challenges of yesterday are certainly not the challenges of today. Yesterday, Cameroon Tribune played an important role of the almost only child of the village where the media landscape was marked by very few competitors. In fact, Cameroonians believed in the paper so much that some went as far as equating the name to mean simply as « press. » You will hear someone say, « lend me your press for the moment. » Someone was heard asking another one, « how is the Cameroon Tribune of a neighbouring country (name withheld) called? »
That was yesterday, the glorious moments of near monopoly. Today, things have changed and changed so seriously due to the present socio-political and economic dispensation. The Cameroon of today is that of multiparty politics, it’s a Cameroon of differences in opinion, growing awareness in certain socio-cultural identities and a country marked by the birth and growth of a multiplicity of media organs all struggling to fit within context. As a State paper, Cameroon Tribune is naturally caught in the trap of giving full satisfaction to both the public and the government that is running the State; its proprietor. The paper, in order to move in the same direction as the wind of the national media, has been surreptitiously and overtly rectifying its blows. While deploying more of its reporters on the national territory through the creation of agencies in the ten regions of the country, the paper continues to resist the temptation of falling into yellow journalism, the journalism of magnification. The country’s political sphere has for the past decades been marked by sentimentalism pulling media organs who want fast cash headlong into it.
Even though Cameroon Tribune may be suffering from the hiccups government-run media usually go through, the paper continues to occupy an important position on the country’s media landscape as the official voice of the government, the government that runs the State. For this reason, once a news item is absent from Cameroon Tribune, people develop worries. At the same time, authorities of the paper are however aware that many readers equally turn to other news sources for information and believe in what they read from there too. The creation of the Online edition of the paper which is not entirely the transposition of the paper version, is an attempt to catch up with new technological developments. In effect, the game change is on and the paper is dancing to its tune.